Heavenly Father, help us mature and grow in the grace of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Help us be people of grace and truth, seasoned with salt, and worthy of our calling. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 32-34, 32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
This was Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem before His death on the cross. He passed through Jericho. Jerusalem was 2500 feet above sea level. Going to Jerusalem was always going up both physically and spiritually. Making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship God was always a spiritual high. The disciples were amazed and fearful. Jesus took the 12 disciples aside and prophecied His suffering, death, and resurrection. This was the third time He foretold His death to the 12 disciples.
VV 35-40, 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” 38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”39 “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
James and John requested to sit at Jesus’ right and left when He sets up in the kingdom. Jesus replied that it was not as easy as they thought. There would be immense suffering to go through. They replied that they were willing to suffer. James was the first disciple to be martyred. John was boiled in oil, escaped death, and was exiled to the island of Patmos. Jesus clarified that to sit at His right hand and left hand was not for Him to grant.
VV 41-45, 41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
When the other 10 disciples heard about this they were indignant. Jesus turned the pyramid upside down. Hierarchy in the Kingdom of God is reversed. Jesus came not to be served but to serve. The greatest in the kingdom had to serve the lowest in the kingdom and be a slave to all. Even Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give up His life to save others. So the first will be last and the last will be first.
VV 46-52, 46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”48Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Jesus met a blind man on the roadside called Bartimaeus, which means, son of Timaeus. Bartimaeus called out, ‘”Jesus son of David” a Jewish messianic title. Although he was blind physically, he ‘’saw’’ Jesus spiritually calling Him, Son of David. Throwing aside his garment was an indication of faith because without his garment he could not be a beggar anymore. Seeing his faith, Jesus healed him. The first person Bartimaeus saw was Jesus and he followed Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. Helen Keller a famous blind educator and activist, 1880- 1968, said, “the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”. Fanny Crosby, 1820- 1915, a blind American Christian who wrote more than 8000 Christian hymns said, ‘’If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind……..for when I die, the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Savior’’. The disciples discouraged Bartimaeus from meeting Jesus but he did not give up. We must not allow people to discourage us from meeting Jesus.
Heavenly Father, give us eyes to see the situations surrounding us, the sufferings around us, and the blindness of people who could not see You as their Lord and Savior. Thank You for opening our spiritual eyes to see You and the faith to believe, in Jesus’ name, Amen.